If you are a Star Trek fan you are well familiar with the Borg. An unrelenting race of beings that seek to totally assimilate everybody and everything they encounter. Now you know the Amazon business model.
Amazon is a multi-billion dollar industry unto itself. No other company in the history of commerce has ever become as indispensable as Amazon. And the money it makes speaks for itself. In 2020, during the pandemic Amazon became the nation’s, if not the world’s, lifeline. Now lets translate that into dollars.
- Amazon stock sells for $3,420.04 a share…one share!
- Amazon market cap or overall company value is $1.7 trillion…trillion!
- 2020 revenue was $236 billion!
- Amazon has customer base of 300 million people.
- Amazon percentage of “ALL” online sales is over 40%!
I could go on but let me sum it up with this. Amazon made more during the pandemic of 2020 that it did in the three previous years combined. According to Amazon from April 2020 to March 31st 2021 the company collected $26.9 billion in profit, while it made $24.7 billion in profit between 2017 to 2019. This has made Amazon the biggest, baddest mofo in e-commerce. And made Jeff Bezos one of the richest Borgs..men, not only in the world but in history. Try $186 BILLION! That literally means that he is richer than most third world nations. As matter of fact his divorce settlement topped $38 billion! WTF?
But while you are shopping on Amazon.com buying a new bluetooth speaker for your patio or a power drill or Nike sneakers, there is a good chance that you have become assimilated to Amazon and cannot escape.
In order to be assimilated Amazon has created a sticky experience. That is a business term. When marketers talk about “a sticky experience” they mean that the customer is drawn back to the product or service and find it hard to resist buying again and again. “You will be assimilated!”
If you are member of Amazon Prime, as I am, here is some of the stuff that results in your assimilation.
The Basic Benefits
Amazon Prime members are eligible for free next-day or two day shipping on millions of items. And depending on where you live you could be getting your stuff with free same-day delivery. Free shipping can also be had from Amazon-owned stores including ShopBop, Woot!, and East Dane.
Amazon Prime Day
Like Christmas! Amazon Prime Day this year is on June 21st. Its more than a sale but a push to assimilate more people into Prime. Besides most of North Korea there are two guys in the northern most reaches of Canada that have succesfully avoided assimilation…for now.
Amazon Prime day routinely outsells both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But just because its a sale does not make it a good deal. The Wired.com Gear usually covers the event and they will tell you whats what.
Besides Amazon Prime Day there is Amazon Day. But that is not a national holiday at all but the ability to schedule your package delivery. This is especially helpful for you shopaholics who have Amazon trucks at your door three times a day. You can get all your stuff in a single delivery on the day of your choice. And if you need it quicker, like tomorrow you can still do that too.
Members Only Discounts
Amazon Prime members get special discounts that other do not. You can score a few bucks off an electronics purchase, a nice coupon for pet food or better prices on new Amazon branded devices. Its a nice perk but again not every sale is a good deal. You must be assimilated. Good advice is to always shop around. I know Amazon has some good prices but I never said they can’t be beat.
Besides events like Prime Day and Black Friday, Prime members get what Amazon calls Lightning Deals. This means that Prime member get a 30 minute head start on other customers on select items. But again, a sale does not equal great deal. Amazon offers member a 30 minute head start. That is not always equivalent to a discount.
No Rush Delivery
Sometimes you really don’t need it now. There is a benefit for Prime Members. You can get as much as $10 in digital credits by letting Amazon take its time delivering your purchase. But make sure you check the expiration date on those credits.
“Resistance is Futile!”
One of Amazon’s secrets to being so successful is that they have mastered the art of making it easy for you to buy stuff. In the business its called a “frictionless buying experience.” This means there is almost no effort involved in buying stuff. You cant resist the benefit of buying something online and having it at your door step the same day. You never have to get dressed! Amazon has made one click buying their standard and, as you have read, it is paying off massively. So what more can Amazon do?
Order your groceries from Amazon Fresh and get them delivered to your door…today! But its not available in all areas. Amazon purchased Whole Foods a few years back so you can find their premium selections of Whole Foods store brands in the Amazon’s grocery services. But check this out; Amazon Fresh grocery stores in some areas offer the option for cashier-less buying. Amazon Go opened a store in Seattle that allows shoppers to walk in, grab what they need and walk out. No cashier needed! You have to admit this is the very definition of “frictionless buying.”
Amazon has eliminated lines and checkout registers…and a few jobs to boot. Amazon named this “just walk out technology.” The actual currency exchange is done using an app that the customer scans upon entering the store. From that point on they just fill up their bags and walk out with their groceries. Customers are sent a receipt and their Amazon account is charged. So how do they do it? According to the Amazon Go website they are using “the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning.” You have to buy something. “Resistance is Futile!”
“You will be Assimilated!”
Who is not an Amazon customer? They must be assimilated! Amazon Household allows member to share benefits between multiple people. Membership perks include assimilating two adults, four teens, and four adults. Should you encounter resistance parents can use Amazon Household to approve your rebellious teenager’s orders or set parental controls on children’s content.
Amazon Keeps you Entertained
Reading, gaming, movies and television, you must be assimilated. Amazon Prime allows members to enjoy First Reads. First Reads for Prime members gives them access to a nearly unlimited selection of Kindle books via Prime Reading. Handicapped or visually impaired is no excuse! Prime members can also access audio books and magazines.
If you are a music lover then Prime members can get free, commercial-free, Prime Music Streaming from a selection of over 2 million songs and a discounted subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited a separate service offering another 70 million songs. Prime members pay only $8 a month compared to $10 for non-members.
We’re just emerging from a global pandemic lockdown so you had to watch a few movies. Prime Video is included with your membership. Separately it costs $9 per month. This includes hundreds of movies and television programs and original Amazon programs. And by the way, in case you haven’t heard, Amazon has assimilated MGM Studios.
So you’re into gaming. That’s still no escape from the Borg…er, Amazon. Prime members can score various rewards via Prime Gaming. Gamers can claim in-game prizes, free game downloads and free downloadable content and expansions, and much more. How about a $10 discount on game pre-order titles when they show up.
Your Wardrobe from Amazon
Prime Wardrobe lets you try before you buy. Amazon offers a selection of clothing items you can try on at home for a week. If you like it you can buy it. If not return them totally free. I am forced to ask about the hygienic protocols for this offering.
Selected customers can use PrimeRX discounts on prescription medication. PrimeRX is actually a prescription savings card that is accepted at pharmacies nationwide, including Amazon’s pharmacy. Though this program is not news there some concerns. privacy for one thing. The Borg, I mean Amazon (did it again!), now has information about your medications. But the benefit is free.
This list of Amazon Prime benefits just goes on and on. It includes Amazon Key for Prime members that allows for in-garage delivery to thwart porch pirates. Amazon also offers three different Amazon credit cards, two of them with Amazon Prime rewards. Amazon even tries to assimilate the yet to be born. Are you or someone you know pregnant? Prime members can claim a free Baby Registry Welcome Box.
And you and everybody else in the world uses a smartphone. Amazon is there too. Select wireless carriers have special cellphone plans for Prime members. Members also get 10 percent back as a credit each month.
“Resistance is Futile. You will be Assimilated!”
Now you know.